1. They just can’t find the time to learn it:
They’ve got work, studies, or day-to-day life to deal with. No matter how much they prioritize Sinhala, they just can’t manage to find the time to sit down and do something about it.
They plan to get to it at the end of day for it but at night they’re just too exhausted to learn something new. Instead they watch some TV or Netflix, do some light reading, or they just crash into bed early.
2. And those who have time, waste it by trying to make their own home-made learning “system”:
Some of those rare people who have all the time in the world take the decision to teach themselves Sinhala.
Fair enough, if you look in the right places, there is an ocean of Sinhala material out there, some of them even free. They could go through all the information they get online, make their own notes, their own summaries, their own pronunciation files, and they might actually learn to speak it.
More power to them.
However, the first major drawback with this approach is that it could take longer than necessary, sometimes years, because they’ll be making their own mistakes along the way and be forced to make numerous U-turns to get back on track.
Then it’s a matter of the accuracy of the info they get. How much do you trust what you get for free on the net today? They’ll start seeing different words or grammar rules being used by different sources and now there’s uncertainty as to which one is correct.
Instead, the smarter move in today’s busy world would be to let others with experience in the Sinhala language do all the hard work and heavy lifting. Let them make mistakes, test and refine what they’ve learned, and produce a PROVEN SYSTEM that will get the job done for you once and for all.
Don't build a car from scratch when you can buy it from a trusted manufacturer.
3. They easily forget what they just learned:
Let’s say that a busy individual somehow pulled off a miracle and managed to find time to study Sinhala.
And guess what? They actually learned something in that first sitting! They’re happy.
But then they get back to it the same time the next day and sadly realize that “Uh oh”, they’ve forgotten most of it already!
Now they need to go back to that same lesson and revise. By the time they’re done revising, they only have a little time left to learn anything new.
When this happens a couple of times, they start feeling demotivated because they feel like they’re stuck in the same place.
4. They’re not confident about their pronunciation:
They struggle with how most Sinhala words sound and are not sure how to repeat them. This could make even the most self-confident person hesitant to speak because now they’re self-conscious.
What if they’re misunderstood? What if they get laughed at, even if it’s in a friendly way? Or worse, what if they say something wrong and offend someone?
They need to hear each word being said out loud by someone reliable whom they can trust or they’re never going to be confident that this is the right way to say it.
5. They don't have a solid foundation of grammar:
The Sinhala grammar rules might be different to the languages the people are familiar with. So if they don’t build a solid foundation of this “new and weird” grammar right at the beginning, they’re going to be on shaky ground whenever they try to speak.
While they may know many Sinhala words, when they then try to put them into a sentence, they end up speaking broken Sinhala.
The flow of the language doesn't come naturally to them and at some point they just get exhausted by having to think so hard before getting a basic sentence right.
6. "It's taking too damn long" (when it shouldn't):
While most people don’t have an “end-date” for when they will stop learning Sinhala, they still want to reach certain milestones at given intervals. It keeps their motivation high.
For example, 2 weeks after starting to learn it if they still only know how to say “owu”, “nae”, and “hari”, this is not going to encourage them that much to go further.
They need quick results that they can immediately put to use. They need “early wins”.
And when this does not happen, once again this leads them to that debilitating feeling of feeling stuck in the same place.
7. Their self-confidence takes an (unnecessary) beating:
Because of all these frustrations we just saw, they now start questioning their own capability and start wondering if it’s a problem with the Sinhala language or if it's them. As in, are they really this bad at learning a new language?
Despite the effort they're putting into learning Sinhala, you find that they still don't understand most of what's being said around them.
Slowly (and most often, without their knowledge) their confidence has begun to crack and the're left with a feeling of hopelessness when it comes to learning to speak Sinhala.
This is the final nail in the coffin because most people who reach this point will find it very challenging to get back on track. In all the years I've been doing this, I've rarely seen them come back.